Picture the scene; it’s dark and you’re in your car or van by the local woods, no streetlights and nobody around. You’ve got a load of rubbish but the tip is shut and you can’t go tomorrow as you’ve got an early start. You consider dumping it thinking that nobody will ever know. Or will they?
Fly tipping in the UK has been an on-going problem for many years, though the scale and nature does vary greatly. Whilst the number of fly-tipping cases is slowly falling, the cost of clearance of fly tipping to Local Authorities in England in 2012/13 was £36.4 million*.
Thanks to modern technology and an increase in sting operations, local councils have an increased armoury with which to tackle fly tipping. GPS mapping, SmartWater, forensics and cutting edge technology all now play a part in the fight against illegal waste dumping.
SmartWater has been around for years, they’re best know for their Forensic Spray System which sprays intruders with an invisible liquid that can only be seen under UV light. Last year however they were instrumental in catching the owner of a waste carrier business who dumped large quantities of rubbish in country lanes and on farmland. SmartWater had marked the waste enabling the police to prosecute and gain a conviction.
The most recent innovation is FlyMapper. This new smartphone app allows Council waste officers to record, photograph, and plot fly tipping incidents onto a GPS mapping system in real time. This allows them to pinpoint hot spots for fly tipping and formulate plans to deal with the problem.
This can range from blocking access to installing CCTV or utilising aerial surveillance but essentially, it will allow the authorities to be more strategic in distributing resources. Plymouth and Reading councils already use apps for locals to report crimes, but FlyMapper could help provide evidence in prosecution cases.
Whilst there’s a long way to go before we eradicate fly tipping, these modern tools are making it harder for criminals to escape unpunished. At AMA, we are Environment Agency approved waste carriers, which means we recycle as much waste as possible before disposing of the rest in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.
*In 2012/13, there were 711,000 reported cases of fly tipping in England. There were over 2,200 prosecutions